Gary Cahill is ready to step up and fill the leadership void left by John Terry at Chelsea, although he concedes the departure of the club great will be a “huge loss” for the Premier League champions.
Terry signed for Aston Villa after leaving Chelsea upon the expiry of his contract, having made 717 appearances at the club, winning five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012.
Cahill regularly wore the captain’s armband for the Blues last season, with Terry playing a bit-part role in his final campaign, but manager Antonio Conte is yet to announce a new skipper.
The former Bolton Wanderers defender is considered a front-runner for the Chelsea captaincy but he accepted it will be difficult for his side to adjust to life without Terry, who had spent his entire professional career at the club, barring a brief loan spell at Nottingham Forest in the 1999-00 season.
“Obviously John Terry will be huge loss for us but I feel I’m at an age where I can pass on my experience to the younger players,” Cahill told reporters ahead of Chelsea’s friendly against Arsenal in Beijing on Saturday.
“We have a lot of experienced players in the dressing room anyway, but I certainly feel I can help.”
Cahill’s centre-back colleague David Luiz has backed the England international to take over the captaincy from Terry, although the Brazilian is also a contender.
“I think it continues to be Gary, why not?” Luiz said. “It’s not about the armband, it’s about your leadership every day, your discipline and the way you try to help the team.
“I have already had the armband here and I always try to be a leader and try to help. I have loved this responsibility since I was young. I was the youngest captain in Benfica history, so I always take responsibility.
“When you play for big clubs you always have responsibility. This is just a case of us having to carry on.”